Mesa Open-Source GPU Drivers Enjoyed Near-Record Growth In 2021, Valve Dev Top Contributor
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 26 December 2021 at 06:30 AM EST. 21 Comments
MESA --
As we approach the end of the year, here is a look back at some of the Mesa open-source 3D OpenGL/Vulkan driver development statistics for 2021 compared to prior years as well as a look at the top contributors to this crucial piece of the Linux desktop stack.

As of this morning when running GitStats on Mesa for a look at year-end numbers, this collection of open-source 3D drivers used on Linux and other platforms has seen 148,309 commits. Mesa is currently comprised of 7,871 files that amount to 3.63 million lines of code. There have been roughly 1,155 contributors to Mesa in its over two decade history.


But when measured on a commit count basis, Mesa in 2021 fell right behind its record-setting year last year. Mesa in 2020 saw the most ever commits at 14,620 -- well topping the previous high set back in 2010 of 12.2k. Mesa this year saw 13,665 commits as of writing, or roughly one thousand less than last year.

But it was not only on a commit basis that Mesa fell behind 2020's epic year as this year saw only 926k lines of code added with 887k lines of removed, compared to last year's 1.14 million lines added and 651k lines removed. Last year saw a lot of contributions from Microsoft as well as Valve developers ramping up their Radeon Vulkan work, etc. In any case, Mesa in 2020 is comfortably in the second most active year for the project over its long history. These numbers are very healthy.


Mesa founder Brian Paul still holds the most commits and lines of code added on a per-developer basis. However, as he hasn't been very active in recent years, his numbers have currently leveled out. Following him are AMD's Marek Olsak and Emma Anholt (formerly Intel and Broadcom, now Google). Right behind Anholt is Jason Ekstrand who was Intel's ANV Vulkan driver lead developer but just left the company this month and heading to a new, unnamed organization. Ken Graunke as another longtime Intel open-source driver developer and lead Iris Gallium3D developer is in fifth for all-time contributions on a line and per-commit basis.


When it comes to the most active developers this calendar year, it was Mike Blumenkrantz who had the most commits and responsible for 10.5% of all the commits this year... Blumenkrantz is the developer focused on the Zink Gallium3D code for OpenGL over Vulkan. Blumenkrantz is working on the Zink/Mesa code as one of several developers employed by Valve for improving the Linux graphics stack. It was really this year Zink became very viable for OpenGL-on-Vulkan and even running many Linux games well.

Following Blumenkrantz was Alyssa Rosenzweig with her work on the Panfrost as part of Collabora and now open-source Apple M1 graphics code too, AMD's OpenGL lead Marek Olsak, Emma Anholt at Google, Samuel Pitoiset working for Valve, and Jason Ekstrand. There were commits from about 235 developers to Mesa this year, which is down from the 246 seen last year or 252 in 2019 but still well above the ~150 count seen a decade ago.


The Mesa code-base is approaching four million lines and it's possible in 2022 we could see that reached. We'll see what comes about for new hardware support and new drivers next year. Mesa is also ending out this year a bit lighter following the removal of the classic DRI drivers and a lot of code clean-ups happening now that those crusty old drivers have been punted off from main.

Those wanting to dig through all the 2021 Mesa Git statistics can find the data dump here.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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